On the Market: Bi-Level Penthouse Condo in Society Hill
This custom-designed unit with views to die for brings the glamor of the Depression and war years (yes, they had some) back to life for our time.
It’s something of a design cliché hereabouts: Owners with money to drop on a luxe condo buy one in a modern building and immediately turn its interior into a faux center-hall Colonial.
Dana Spain could have done that with this Society Hill penthouse condo for sale. After all, she and her husband went to the expense of building a huge (10,000-square-foot) mansion on the Bella Vista-Queen Village border that combined elements of Mediterranean and Georgian style, so she’s clearly both familiar and comfortable with the architectural style that defines so much of this region.
But when Spain downsized and bought this bi-level condo on the top floor of Independence Place in 2015, the animal-welfare maven and founder of Philadelphia Style magazine clearly let the building speak to her.
It appears to have told her that it wanted this space to be a little more modern than that. So she made it Moderne, engaging KJO Architecture to redesign the space to provide plenty of open space for living and entertaining along with lots of wall space to display her art collection. Then she gave it oodles of 1940s elegance by outfitting it in the Streamline Moderne style — the bridge between the Art Deco of the Depression and the mid-century modernism that would follow it in the 1950s.
The combination of open spaces and stripped-down elegance works beautifully, as these photos should make clear.
This two-level southwest corner unit features an L-shaped open main living area whose focal point is the wood-burning fireplace in its central corner. A powder room sits next to the 1,051-bottle wine cabinet behind one of the seating areas.
Floor-to-ceiling windows offer fantastic views to the south and west, and the balcony that wraps around most of the space offers views of Washington Square as well. If, like me, you enjoy sunsets, you will spend lots of time on this balcony.
While the seating areas are in the part facing west, the part next to the greenhouse windows facing south contains a large, ebony-faced dry bar next to its greenhouse window and another sitting area beyond.
That sitting area could easily be converted into a dining area for the adjacent kitchen, where you will find more ebony on its cabinet faces. With three ovens, a microwave, a Gaggenau wine fridge and two dishwashers, it’s outfitted for you to fix (and clean up after) a very large feast. It also has plenty of built-in cabinets where you can show off the tableware for that feast, and it has a butler’s pantry to boot. A nearby powder room handles your guests.
A corridor leads from the kitchen to this room that serves as a home gym. It could be transformed into a bedroom, or even two. A full bath sits across the hall from it.
Part of the gym overlooks the primary bedroom below. The overlook opens up two two-story-high walls suitable for displaying large works of art.
The many walls on the stairwell outside the gym offer more display space.
The stairs themselves lead directly into the primary bedroom, which has a Porcelana tile floor and a decorative electric fireplace framed by even more ebony-faced cabinets. You’ll find still more ebony in the shelves and dressing table in the large walk-in dressing closet, one of three in the primary suite.
The primary suite also has a balcony of its own, facing south.
By now you’ve probably noticed the more classical, Art Deco-influenced lighting fixtures throughout this Society Hill penthouse condo for sale. The Art Deco side of Moderne style also comes through in the fluted vanity in the primary bathroom. Said bathroom has radiant-heated Porcelanosa tile floors and walls faced in the same material, and it has facing dual heads in its shower stall.
While the second bedroom in this unit serves as a gym, you need not keep it one if you want to use the space for something else, for Independence Place has an all-new, well-equipped fitness center of its own. Of course, it also has a 24-hour doorman and concierge. And living here, you can also reach Penn’s Landing, the Delaware riverfront attractions and the restaurants, art galleries and nightspots of Old City as well as Head House Square just by walking.
And while this condo is also a throwback to the World War II era, it has the tech specs of a 2020s residence, with Lutron shades on all the windows and a whole-house audio system with hidden Sonos speakers.
And now that you’ve seen one outstanding and unique example of Philadelphia style, you have the opportunity to buy this luxurious Society Hill penthouse condo for sale and give it your own Philadelphia style if what you see here doesn’t float your boat for some reason. But please, resist the temptation to turn this into yet another faux center-hall Colonial. This just isn’t the right space for that.
THE FINE PRINT
BATHS: 2 full, 1 half
SQUARE FEET: 4,679
SALE PRICE: $3,295,000
OTHER STUFF: Should you need space to store a car or two, Independence Place also has an underground parking garage with direct elevator access; parking spaces there cost $400 each. No information about condo fees is available.
241 S. 6th St., Unit PH2505/2406, Philadelphia, PA 19106 [Kristen Foote | Kristen Foote & Co. | Compass]